Newsletter #88 - The Streaming Wars

How Netflix got beat by Hong Kong’s Viu streaming service

The past year has been a sink or swim moment for many streaming services in APAC. But it isn't just Disney+’s arrival that has shaken things up. Chinese giants like iQIYI are aggressively pursuing SE Asian viewers, and India has become a key battleground for international services.

The streaming industry has also profoundly changed the way filmmakers approach production and distribution. This week, we’ll be watching the streaming wars happening in Asia.

Looking for Netflix recommendations,

Team NC

📺 Streaming in Asia: who'll prosper, who'll perish?


What is the future of streaming wars? [IGN]

State of streaming 3.0 - After the launch of three new streaming services in 2020— Peacock, HBO Max, and Quibi—the number of contenders entering the fray over the past year has slowed down some. In 2021 however, the focus has shifted from the creation of new platforms to survival, as each streaming service wants to gain as many viewers as it can.

Two plausible strategies - To get as many viewers as possible, intellectual property (IP) is any streamer’s greatest asset, as owning the rights to iconic franchises like Star Wars can be crucial to hook more subscribers.

Another strategy is to leverage on user trends. As the SE Asian market is mobile-centric, Netflix has rolled out mobile-only plans (in countries such as the Philippines and Malaysia), and provides more flexible ways to pay through mobile plans.


Hong Kong's streaming platform Viu beats Netflix in SE Asia [Variety]

How Viu fended off Netflix - While subscribers in the West tend to pay one fee for any service, Viu's pricing strategy in SE Asia offers a hybrid model with freemium and subscription models that better fits the region’s lower spending power and can tackle its rampant piracy. Consequently, its monthly active users hit over 49 million by end-June and pushed Viu to the second position (after Disney+), and surpassed Netflix, which fell to third place.

Why SE Asia? - Viu already provides services in Asia, the Middle East, and South Africa but is particularly keen to expand its reach in SE Asia. As Janice Lee, Viu’s CEO, told Nikkei: “If you look at the competitive landscape, Asia has become an important growth area by geography for any company. Southeast Asia's markets are somewhat fragmented... It's not homogeneous like North America.”


A glimpse at 5G entertainment in the Philippines [Tech Wire Asia]

Expanding 5G network - Until recently, wireless internet coverage wasn’t the best in the Philippines, but as 5G connectivity was gradually introduced over the past few years, things are changing. Since 2019, the telecoms provider Smart has been one of the first in SE Asia to deploy 5G networks in urban hubs around the country including Manila, Quezon City, Cebu, and more.

Higher speeds unlock more user experiences - 5G technology is giving the entertainment industry an opportunity to change the way people make, access, and consume content—from enjoying 360-degree views of live concerts to e-sports and cloud gaming.

🛋️ More reads - Go on a binge!

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